April 3, 2019
Former New York Mets pitcher Ron Darling, who was on the roster when the Mets won the 1986 World Series, has come out with a new book in which, among other things, he alleges that, during Game Three of the Series, teammate Lenny Dykstra “shout[ed] every imaginable and unimaginable insult and expletive in his [African-American pitcher Oil Can Boyd’s] direction — foul, racist, hateful, hurtful stuff” when he was in the on-deck circle before leading off the game.
Dykstra has taken offense at the statement, and has threatened to sue Darling.
I wouldn’t take the case.
Even if Dykstra were to get 12 jurors to believe him and disbelieve Darling, there is the troublesome and problematic matter of damages. Damages in defamation cases fall into three categories: (1) actual damages, or loss of income directly attributable to the defamation; (2) presumed damages, or damages which are likely to result from the defamation; and (3) punitive damages, which are only available in the rare case in which the utterances are egregious and accompanied by malice or fraud.
According to his Wikipedia page:
– Dykstra’s net worth was estimated at $58 million in 2008. He filed for bankruptcy in 2009, by which time he was living out of his car, having been banned from both of his foreclosed multi-million-dollar properties after being accused of vandalizing them.
– In 2010, a court-appointed trustee in the bankruptcy case charged that he had lied under oath, improperly hidden and sold assets, and repeatedly acted “in a fraudulent and deceitful manner” during his ongoing bankruptcy case.
– That same year, he was accused of having hired a female escort and writing her a bad check.
– In 2011, he was arrested in connection with the attempted purchase of a stolen car and, in an unrelated federal complaint, he was charged with embezzlement, obstruction of justice, bankruptcy fraud, making false statements to the bankruptcy court, and concealing property from the court.
– That same year, he was charged in state court with 25 misdemeanor and felony counts of grand theft auto, identity theft, filing false financial statements and possession of cocaine, ecstasy and human growth hormone. He ended up getting sentenced to three years in state prison.
– In 2012, he pled guilty in federal court to three felonies and was sentenced to 6 1/2 months in prison and ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution.
– In 2018, he was indicted for uttering terroristic threats and for possession of drugs after he allegedly threatened his Uber driver with a gun after the driver refused to change destinations.
He was also named in the Mitchell Report as a user of anabolic steroids in his playing days.
Good luck with that lawsuit, Nails.